Background: Anxiety disorders frequently co-occur with alcohol use disorders (comorbidity). Among alcoholism treatment patients, comorbid anxiety disorders often do not improve without specific treatment and can increase the risk for relapse to drinking. Aims: In this paper we describe evolving work on treatment approaches for individuals with alcohol dependence and comorbid anxiety disorder. Method: We overview issues related to comorbidity and its treatment. We describe a prototype of an integrated CBT treatment protocol that integrates CBT treatment for panic disorder with content focusing on the interaction of alcohol use and panic symptoms. We discuss practical lessons learned over the course of this research program and how we are incorporating them into our ongoing work. Results: Preliminary findings show that this program is well accepted by patients undergoing an intensive alcoholism treatment and offers significant clinical advantages over alcoholism treatment alone. Conclusions: We conclude that integrated CBT treatments for comorbid anxiety disorder can be a practical and efficacious adjunct to standard alcoholism treatment.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported, in part, by grants from the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (AA12426 and AA015069) awarded to the first author.
- Alcohol use disorders
- Comorbid anxiety disorders
- Integrated CBT treatment